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MV Marco Polo
Reviewed by: Erika Holland
# previous cruises: 1
Date of Trip: August 18, 2001
We sailed on the Marco Polo for their Grand Scandinavia, Baltic
Sea with Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Copenhagen the
first week, Norway; fjords and Bergen and Oslo the second. Would recommend
the two weeks without hesitation. We never got bored, the weather
cooperated and I didn't want to get off. Pre and post options in Stockholm
and Copenhagen gave us plenty of time to explore both cities.
This is a small ship, 800 passengers but comfortable for all,
great deck chairs, small library, card room and casino. Everything was
immaculate and someone always cleaning, and maintaining the ship. Lounges
were never overcrowded, mostly observed crew smoking where it was allowed,
few passengers. Show room had two performances so that all passengers could
be accommodated. Pool open but filled with salt water and not heated, only
saw one person swimming in two weeks, but that wasn't a primary attraction,
the destinations were. There was a disco where they had card tournaments
during the day
The food was very good and the service even better.
Wonderful entrees and the portions were just right. If you wanted more they
brought it with a smile. Desserts, breads everything top-notch. Even in
the buffet food was nicely prepared and presented. Gelato wagon on the pool
deck did big business (no charge). The grill outside did breakfast, lunch
and afternoon tea. The dinner buffet featured cloth napkins and
tablecloths. It did get a little crowded in the mornings when there were
land tours but you could go the main dining room and get served just as
We were on the Promenade Deck and had a small cabin compared to
others we saw. Category C was too small for two women on a 14-day cruise.
Other cabins at lower categories had more drawer and closet space but we
found cubbyholes for our shoes and accessories but in the future I would go
with an inside cabin, cheaper and roomier. TV rarely worked outside of port
and then only 4 channels, the camera from the bridge was in operation and
interesting but we were never in cabin other than to dress, shower and
The service staff from the Philippines did a wonderful folk
show with singing and dancing. The regular ensemble did a good job but the
best were the classical music trio who player in both the lounge and
showroom. When we saw them listed on the schedule we made sure to go. The
comedian was ok but some of the entertainment was hokey but they all get an
A for effort.
The spa is being taken over by another company this fall. The
spa treatment I had, a facial was good but they pushed their products too
heavily and also promoted a detox system, faux diet program which was a
turn-off. They had fitness classes and plenty of equipment. There was
trivia, bingo, other contests in casino also, speakers, plenty to keep you
occupied between meals and stops.
Only took the excursion in
Tallinn because we had four hours wanted to see as much as possible.
Otherwise we went off on our own and bought public transport passes and
explored. In St. Petersburg we secured a private guide on our own and got
to see places the groups wouldn't have, restaurants and places off the
tourist beat. Elena was great and haggled with the taxi drivers for fair
rates. We also skipped ahead of the lines at the Hermitage and Peterhof.
Even with the cost of the visas we came out ahead of the excursion prices.
I would say about 75% or more were seniors but that didn't dampen
the experience, a few complainers but you get that at any age. We had
about 4 kids the first week and 2-3 the second week. The ship had no
activities for children but they were all very well behaved and never
bothered the adults. The first week we dined with a lovely couple from
South Africa and had stimulating conversations. The second week a couple
from Las Vegas, talk about night and day, shared our table. She was seasick
but wouldn't try any remedies, pressure point wrist bands, etc. She played
with her food and ate very little but managed several desserts despite being
a diabetic. Fortunately the dress code kept them from the dining room
several nights and we could enjoy our meal, service and view. Glad we took
a table for four, we had a window table with great views. Tables for two
were all in the middle of the dining room.
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